I have been growing my beard for sometime and I have been told that one fist Lenght is sunnah, mines have reached two fist. Now one brother advised it should be cut to one fist another said two,one even said once it crosses one fist is good. What is the longest I can grow my beard and what is sunnah one or two fist Lenght?
Wa Alaikum As Salaam,
That which has been reported from the Prophet (S.A.S) is that he has instructed his followers to grow and keep the beard, There are different traditions in which the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘Grow the beard’, ‘Leave your beard to grow’, ‘let your beard increase’ etc.These narrations indicate that the Prophet (S.A.S) emphasized upon his followers to grow their beards, and strongly discouraged them from shortening it.
With respect to the length of the beard of the Prophet (S.A.S), there is no specified length narrated in the traditions. However, the ahadith state that ‘the Prophet (S.A.S) had a long beard’ (Tirmidhi). Another tradition states that his beard was dense and thick. (Sahih Muslim)
With respect to what length the beard should be kept, the traditions do not provide any fix and direct instruction regarding this, except that the guidance of the Prophet (S.A.S) to his followers was to ‘grow their beards’ and ‘lengthen their beards’. It does not say that it should be kept to the amount of one, two, three or four fist’s length. However, the actions of the illustrious companions who lived with the Prophet (S.A.S) and were fully knowledgeable regarding such matters, provide some details regarding the length of the beard and when it can be trimmed.
In this regard, it is narrated that Abdullah bin Umar(R.A) used to keep his beard to the length of one fist, and would trim it when it exceeded that amount. (Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith No.5892).
It is narrated that Umar (R.A) once saw a person who had allowed his beard to grow beyond the natural limits. He instructed another person to cut that which exceeded beyond the length of a fist. After it had been trimmed, Umar (R.A) said, ‘why does one of you allow his beard to grow so long, that it makes him look like some wild animal’ (Umdatul Qari – Commentary of Sahih Al Bukhari Vol. 22 Pg. 47)
It is narrated that Abu Hurairah (R.A) used to take his beard in his fist, and he would trim the hair that exceeded the fist length’ (Shu’abal Iman – Imam Baihaqi).
It is to be noted that both Abu Hurairah (R.A) and Abdullah bin Umar (R.A) have narrated the Ahadith in which the Prophet (S.A.S) instructed his followers ‘to grow’ and ‘lengthen’ their beards Their actions therefore, provide an explanation regarding the minimum length the beard should be kept. It is on account of this, the scholars have stated that the minimum length of the beard which a male must keep is that which is equivalent to a fist. Keeping the beard shorter than this length is not permissible and shaving it is totally Haram (unlawful).
Some scholars like Imam An Nawawi and others have stated that the beard should be allowed to grow and it should not be trimmed. Other great scholars however, have stated that trimming the beard once it has crossed a fist length is permissible.
The great scholar of Hadith, Hafiz Ibn Hajar (R.A) has mentioned the statement of Qadi Iyad in which he said, that it is preferable to trim the length and breadth of the beard when it overgrows If a person allows his beard to grow so long that it causes people to talk about it, it will be regarded as Makruh (reprehensible), (Fathul Bari Vol. 10 Pg 350 – Ash Shama’il Al Kubra Pg. 334)
Mulla Ali Al Qari has also written that one would not be contravening the Hadith which states that the beard should be lengthened, if one trims the beard when it has exceeded a fist-length. However, it is prohibited to keep a stubble, or beard that is less than the length of a fist. (Mirqat-Sharh Mishkaat).
With respect to what length you should keep your beard, my opinion is that you should grow it to one’s fist length and trim what extends beyond that. This is based on the explanations which have been given and more so, the narration which states that Umar (R.A) once saw a person who had allowed his beard to grow beyond its natural limits. He took a hold of the person’s beard and instructed him to cut that which extended beyond the fist. (Umdatul Qari – Commentary of Sahih Al Bukhaari).
And Allah Knows best
Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.